Pope Francis asked leading African Cardinal Robert Sarah “to continue the good work in the liturgy begun by Pope Benedict XVI” when he became Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments last November, he has revealed.
In his message to the Sara Liturgia USA Conference in New York, which began on Monday, the Guinean Cardinal said: “When the Holy Father, Pope Francis, asked me to accept the ministry of Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments, I asked: ‘Your Holiness, how do you want me to exercise this ministry? What do you want me to do as Prefect of this Congregation?’ The Holy Father’s reply was clear. ‘I want you to continue to implement the liturgical reform of the Second Vatican Council,’ he said, ‘and I want you to continue the good work in the liturgy begun by Pope Benedict XVI.’”
He asked the conference “to be wise, like the householder in St Matthew’s Gospel, who knows when to bring out of his treasure things both new and old (cf Matt 13:52), so that the Sacred Liturgy as it is celebrated and lived today may lose nothing of the estimable riches of the Church’s liturgical tradition, whilst always being open to legitimate development (cf Sacrosanctum Concilium, 23)”.
He said: “Because the Sacred Liturgy is truly the font from which all the Church’s power flows, as the Second Vatican Council insists (cf Sacrosanctum Concilium, 10), we must do everything we can to put the Sacred Liturgy back at the very heart of the relationship between God and man, recognising the primacy of Almighty God in this privileged and unique forum in which we, individually and ecclesially, encounter God at work in our world. One cannot encounter God, my brothers and sisters, without trembling, without awe, without profound respect and holy fear. This is why we must rank what Cardinal Ratzinger called ‘the right way of celebrating the Liturgy, inwardly and outwardly’ first amongst our concerns.”
Cardinal Sarah expressed the hope that he will be able to join the next Sacra Liturgia meeting, to be held in London in July next year.